Airman's invention could save millions

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

An Airman at McConnell Air Force base has invented a solution to a longstanding problem several Airmen face.

As a boom operator instructor, Sgt. Bartek Bachleda who operates a KC-135 tanker, noticed a critical flaw in the area where instructors lay down in the back of an airplane. The position dedicated to the instructor has awkward support and no chin rest, which causes significant injuries over time.

"I've personally known several chiefs and seniors and master sergeants that are medically retired because of their injuries… They could no longer do their job. They could no longer do any job."  Bachleda said.

The solution to the problem is an ergonomic cushion that allows the instructors to lay down without injury.

The cushion was entered into the Spark Tank competition in Florida, a competition that encourages and funds innovation and it made it to the final six.

After facing several years of challenges and setbacks with his invention, Bachelda's work finally paid off. After presenting his invention to a panel of investors and competing against forty others- his invention was given the winning title.

Now, Bachleda's invention is fully funded and will begin being implemented in every single KC-135 nationwide.

"It wasn't until the chief of staff of the air force turned around and looked at me like 'you need to come up here', that's when I realized I won. I was shocked. It was surreal." said Bachelda

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